If you dig these songs please consider buying them; most can be had for less than a buck. Links will be live for one week.
Some lyrics may be NSFW. Listen at your own risk.
I used to try to write something about each of the songs, then I realized it was all basically a variation on “I like how this sounds.” Music appreciation is idiosyncratic. The only way you’ll know if you like a song is by listening to it. I dig all this stuff and I hope you do too.
In addition to the ones mentioned in the list, here are the albums in 2016 I enjoyed front to back:
Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung.
ABC - The Lexicon Of Love II.
Beyonce - Lemonade. She made a really striking choice at the end. “All Night” as an album closer would have concluded on a note of sadness, and made the whole piece feel like a meditation on the impermanence of love. But she put it second last, and instead finished with the solidarity anthem “Formation,” which makes for a very different afterimage.
Kamaiyah - A Good Night In The Ghetto.
Lushlife + CSLSX - Ritualize.
Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines.
Tuff Love - Resort.
I usually reserve an Honorable Mention spot for a longer song. Most years there’s at least one 7+ minute song that I like quite a bit, but since I try to get lots of different artists on the list I don’t want a single tune to crowd out several others.
(Fits on a single 80 minute CD.)
From the E.A.R.T.H. mixtape (2016 Album of the year). B.o.B has arguably started to suffer from some kind of mental illness. At a minimum he’s started taking some very, um, heterodox positions. Whatever this new thing is, it’s light years from the bubblegummer he seemed to be when he first hit it big. His music has never sounded better than it does on E.A.R.T.H., one of four “elemental” mixtapes he released this year - and the one where he seemed to give freest rein to his new consciousness. Conspiracies and shadows, disillusionment and desperation, all set to killer beats. Put it in the time capsule. This is the document to remember 2016 by.